CAMARILLO, Calif. - Low altitude and possible mechanical issues may have been to blame for a fatal plane crash near the Camarillo Airport earlier this month.
On Oct. 8, John Lewis, 82, of Woodland Hills died in a crash just off of airport property.
The National Transportation Safety Board has been investigating the circumstances of the crash and released a preliminary report on Wednesday.
Lewis was flying an amateur-built experimental airplane at around 12:30 p.m. in clear conditions.
The report says that air traffic controllers contacted Lewis and stated that he was flying low. Lewis told air traffic control that his plane was having issues climbing and he had to maintain the low altitude. Lewis told the tower he would need to make a full stop landing.
Witnesses at the scene told investigators that the plane was flying low, made a right turn, and began rapidly descending towards the ground. One witness also told investigators that the propellor was not moving.
Lewis' plane crashed just outside of the Camarillo Airport in an open produce field. The plane erupted in flames following the crash and Lewis died as a result of smoke inhalation and thermal injuries.
The final NTSB report is pending and could take months to be completed.